Unit 2: Responses to Crime

How are criminal laws enforced? How do police respond to crime?  Do thos accused of a crime have any constitutional protections durint the process of investigation, and if so, what? Building on their understanding of how crime is defined, students focus on how law enforcement prevents, responds to, and investigates crime. Using criminal drug laws and national drug policy to inform their work, students explore a variety of tools and strategies used by professionals to enforce the law as they investigate a crime and consider ethical issues and guidelines for investigators. Students explore theories of policing and assess how different approaches affect the relationship between law enforcement and communities. They look at how constitutional rules govern the actions of law enforcement, and weigh the need to balance the rights of individuals with the need for community safety. Students critically examine inequities that can occur in law enforcement policy and practice, and make a recommendation for improving the criminal justice system. Unit Length: 20 50-minute sessions

Unit Project Description

For the unit project, students take on the role of members of a multi-agency law enforcement task force responding to drug crime. After assessing evidence gathered during their investigation, students develop a hypothesis (which serves as the basis for a possible arrest). Students also act as consultants to the Bureau of Justice Assistance. Based on their experience on the task force, their examination of U.S. drug policy in recent decades, and how communities have been affected by drug enforcement efforts, students write a recommendation for improving law enforcement policies and operations and advancing justice.


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